Today marks the 61st anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster.
On February 6, 1958, a plane carrying the Manchester United squad crashed as it attempted three times to take off from an icy Munich airport.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 6, 2019
The players were travelling back from a European Cup clash versus Red Star Belgrade and eight of them suffered fatal injuries, with a total of 23 members on board passing way.
The list of players who died include Geoff Bent, Roger Byrne, Eddie Colman, Duncan Edwards, Mark Jones, David Pegg, Tommy Taylor and Liam Whelan.
The official Manchester United website has run a piece on Munich, featuring caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, European Cup winner in 1968, Paddy Crerand, and Scott McTominay.
Solskjaer reveals how his dad was 14-years-old when the tragedy struck: “I think it’s so important because it’s such a big part of our history. That day will be in our memories and our history forever.
”It’s quite a few years ago now and the new supporters coming through must learn about it and the history of it.
“My dad was 14 when it happened and he tells me about how he got to know about it back home in Norway, watching it on the black and white TV screens.
“It’s a sad day in our history, but it’s a day that we’ll always remember.”
Crerand, who joined United from Celtic in 1963, reveals how everyone in Glasgow knew about the Busby Babes: “The anniversary will never be forgotten as far as Manchester United fans are concerned. But not just United fans, a lot of people in my age group in Britain in general.
“The Busby Babes was a team that everyone supported and knew about. I was a kid at Celtic at the time and everyone spoke about it. It wasn’t just because of their ability but because of how young they were, which is what amazed me.
“They were 18 and 19 years old playing at a top class team like United, whereas normally back then you would be 23 or 24 before you got into the first team.
“That young team were something special. I was brought up in Glasgow, where of course the two biggest clubs are Celtic and Rangers, yet everyone knew about United and was talking about the Busby Babes.
“The unfortunate thing was that games weren’t really shown on TV and working-class people couldn’t afford TV those days, so you hardly saw them playing.
“Most fans, including me, would listen to matches like the European Cup tie against Red Star on the radio. But they [the Busby Babes] would be the team that everyone would want to watch.
“I was fortunate enough to watch them live a couple of times but only in friendly matches. The one player that always stood out was Duncan Edwards.
“It’s important we all remember what happened at Munich. The day itself, 6 February, was the date I signed for United five years after the crash in 1963. If that crash hadn’t happened, I don’t think I would have been anywhere near [playing for] Manchester United. I’m sure of that.”
And finally, McTominay explains what the Munich tragedy means to playing coming through the academy.
“Last year was the first time I’ve come here [to Old Trafford for a Munich anniversary] and everyone was immaculately dressed. It was an occasion you want to be a part of, to pay tribute to those who died in the Munich Air Disaster.
“Having grown up coming through the Academy, it’s obviously something that is really close to my heart and the whole football club in general.
“It was an absolute tragedy and it affected millions of people around the world, from fans to family members. It was a sad time but obviously the club have kept going and going and going and hopefully we are doing them [the victims] proud.
“As soon as you’re able to understand what happened, it’s so important to pass that message across and make everyone aware and obviously pay tribute.”
Fans and club representatives are planning to gather under the Munich memorial plague at Old Trafford today at 2:40pm, but some current and former players have already paid respect through social media.
We loved you then, we love you now. R.I.P 🙏🏾🖤 pic.twitter.com/dDz9C75GXo
— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) February 6, 2019
Never forgotten 🙏🏼 https://t.co/9ZrI84hZtm
— Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) February 6, 2019
— Timothy fosu-mensah (@tfosumensah) February 6, 2019
— Patrice Evra (@Evra) February 6, 2019
— Jesse Lingard (@JesseLingard) February 6, 2019
— Victor Lindelöf (@vlindelof) February 6, 2019
— Gary Neville (@GNev2) February 6, 2019
Just put some flowers down for Big Swifty. RIP 🌹 pic.twitter.com/QpvMZppPen
— Alan Tonge 🐝 (@Alan_Tonge) February 6, 2019
— Andrew Cole (@vancole9) February 6, 2019
— The Peoples Person (@PeoplesPerson_) February 6, 2019
— Rafael da Silva (@orafa2) February 6, 2019